There are several month-long observances and events in October. While I have already touched on some (employment, maintaining a positive attitude, Down Syndrome awareness, anti-bullying – links to all), there is one more observance I would like to discuss: National Physical Therapy Month.
Designated by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), National Physical Therapy Month raises awareness of physical therapy as a safe, effective alternative route to medication.
It’s also a time to celebrate the wonderful work done by health professionals who help people find relief from pain, improve mobility, and live healthier lives.
In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, I invited our two physical therapists, Christina Gross (MSPT) and Barbara Gleason (MSPT), to share their stories as to why they chose this field.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in physical therapy?
Chris: I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and physical therapy was a high-demand career at the time. Initially, I thought I would pursue a career in sports physical therapy, but found neuro-rehabilitation to be more interesting to me.
Barbara: I went to college knowing I wanted to do something in the medical field other than being a doctor or nurse, but I really didn’t know what field I wanted to pursue. I had an opportunity to work with a physical therapist during college and found it quite interesting. I have always wanted to work in a field that keeps me moving physically and where I can have direct contact with people. Physical therapy definitely allows me the benefits of both of those criteria. I am a people person and enjoy the direct contact that physical therapy provides.
What do you like best about working in physical therapy?
Chris: I have worked in all types of settings over the past 23 years. The best part of being a physical therapist in any setting is being able to celebrate the success of your client achieving a goal. Knowing that I helped to contribute to their success is what keeps me going.
Barbara: My favorite aspect of being a physical therapist is definitely getting to know my clients/students. We spend a lot of time one on one with them, and it is so rewarding when you see them progress. Many people are so focused on large gains, but as a physical therapist, we are trained to see all the improvements including the small ones, and it is nice to point these out.
Do you have any dislikes?
Chris: I enjoy working directly with the client. I also enjoy research and learning about new things that are being “discovered” in the world of physical therapy. I most dislike doing paperwork!
Barbara: The part of the job that is least enjoyable is definitely the paper work. I do not have a long attention span when I sit in front of a computer, and my typing skills are not the strongest. One of the reasons I went into physical therapy was so I wouldn’t have to sit at a computer all day. Luckily, we get to move a lot in this job.
Any comments or stories you would like to share?
Chris: As a physical therapist in the school setting, I am always amazed at how resilient and adaptable kids are. I am especially impressed by how they find ways to be mobile, despite their physical challenges. I try to give the students I work with tools to help them move better, but their motivation to move is really the driving force behind much of what I do here.
Barbara: It is great to be in a field that is devoted to helping people. No matter how busy or stressful a day can be, at the end of that day I feel pride knowing that I have (hopefully) made a positive impact on someone.
We are so fortunate to have Chris Gross and Barbara Gleason as physical therapists at the Barber National Institute. Thank you ladies for making dreams come true for our children!